• Alternative Names

    Joint dislocation

    First Aid
    1. Call 911 before you begin treating someone who may have a dislocation, especially if the accident causing the injury may be life-threatening.
    2. If there has been a serious injury, check the person's airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing, CPR, or bleeding control.
    3. Do not move the person if you think that the head, back, or leg has been injured. Keep the person still. Provide reassurance.
    4. If the skin is broken, take steps to prevent infection. Do not blow on the wound. Rinse the area gently to remove obvious dirt, but do not scrub or probe. Cover the area with sterile dressings before immobilizing the injury.
    5. Splint or sling the injury in the position in which you found it. Do not move the joint. Be sure to immobilize the area above and below the injured joint.
    6. Check the person's blood circulation around the injury by pressing firmly on the skin in the affected area. It should blanch white, then regain color within a couple of seconds. Avoid this step if the skin has been broken, to reduce the risk of infection.
    7. Apply ice packs to ease pain and swelling.
    8. Take steps to prevent shock. Unless there is a head, leg, or back injury, lay the victim flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches, and cover the person with a coat or blanket.

    Do Not
    • Do NOT move the person unless the injury has been completely immobilized.
    • Do NOT move a person with an injured hip, pelvis, or upper leg unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are the only rescuer and the person must be moved, drag him or her by the clothing.
    • Do NOT attempt to straighten a misshapen bone or joint or to change its position.
    • Do NOT test a misshapen bone or joint for loss of function.
    • Do NOT give the person anything by mouth.

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Call 911 if the person has:

    • A bone projecting through the skin
    • A known or suspected dislocation or broken bone
    • An area below the injured joint that is pale, cold, clammy, or blue
    • Severe bleeding
    • Signs of infection, such as warmth or redness at the injured site, pus, or a fever